Sunday, November 27, 2022

Axe Republic’s New Owners are Excited for the Future

Meet Lydia Hertzler and Matthew Murnion. They are the new owners of Axe Republic in New Town. (Courtesy of Carter Art Company)

WILLIAMSBURG — It has been said that having shared interests is good for the health of a relationship.

Williamsburg couple Lydia Hertzler and Matthew Murnion found one while on their third date in the form of axe throwing at Axe Republic in New Town.

Fast forward to early April 2022 and the now engaged couple are taking their hobby several steps further by buying the Historic Triangle’s premier axe throwing lounge.

Lydia and Matthew have been regulars at Axe Republic since it was opened in 2019 by retired nurse Nikki Montero.

“We ended up joining the Founders Union,” Lydia recalled. “From there, we’ve just been here for the last three years and it all just worked out.”

A Williamsburg native, Lydia had been working as a distiller for Iron Clad Distillery in Newport News. Initially wanting to start her distillery after learning the business from the ground up, she discovered that she enjoyed working behind the bar as well. With a change in objective she began looking for opportunities to have her own business within the service industry.

Matthew, who originally hales from Montana, will be very involved in Axe Republic’s operations going forward, but he will also continue working his full-time career as the manager at Wolf Tree Custom Saw Mill in Toano. Matthew’s full-time job works out into a convenient piece of synergy as Wolf Tree is the supplier of the wood used to make targets.

Going forward the couple are looking carry on the already strong legacy left to them by the new retired founder.

“Nikki got it off the ground and flying,” Lydia said. “We are just taking over the controls now.”

One of axe-throwing aspects Lydia and Matthew are looking to expand on is league play in their establishment as well as around the region.

“We have a small local league right now,” Matthew said. “But we are hoping to play around with some ideas and do a marathon league days where you come for the whole day and throw axes. We also want to do a league collaboration with some of the places in Richmond, Newport News and Virginia Beach.”

Other parts of Axe Republic they want to play with is the food. Already known for a wide selection of locally and nationally known craft beer and hard ciders, Lydia says she plans to look into curating a menu that pairs well with libations.

“I want to make it more unique,” Lydia mentioned. “I want it to be a little more gourmet and a little less stadium food. A gourmet stadium food sort of. It’s still wings and nachos and all that stuff, but I want to do the next level of that.”

For those interested in trying their hand at axe throwing, Axe Republic is open Wednesday through Sunday. For $25 per thrower, you get 75-minutes on a lane and training from one of the “axeperts” on staff.

For more information on Axe Republic or to make a reservation, please click here.

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